Recently, a 'sadak chaap mawali' (street toughie) took it upon himself to follow me around on my way to office. Even though I have experienced this sort of incident numerous times, starting from the time I was in 7th grade, I couldn't help feeling real scared all over again. Here is a write up of the incident, the advice I received from my friends and my guidance to other women who find themselves in similar situations.
Day 1 - As I was walking to work, I noticed this guy staring at me and trying to keep up with my hurried pace. Soon, I felt a tug on my arm. Turning around I found myself looking into the leering face of a short, skinny youth. Since, I've come across his type many times over, I told him to 'Walk Ahead' (Aage Chal).
Sadly, I had reached office quite late and there were no other office goers walking on the deserted path ahead of me. I thought it best to ignore him and walked on ahead. He kept asking me the time and saying things in a local dialect which I could not understand. I told him to go away as I walked into my office building. Such 'stalkers' are usually not seen in the same place twice.
Later, I asked my friends for advice on how to tackle such a 'stalker'. This is what I got -
- Ignore him completely, he will get bored and walk off.
- Carry pepper spray or chilli powder. If there is no one around, use it and run away immediately.
- Don't try to lose the stalker by going down empty paths, you'll get in even more trouble.
- Make friends or walk alongside other ladies, even if you don't know them. Make sure there are other people around you.
- Tell people around you about his deeds. You may feel a bit embarrassed but it is better than keeping silent. You are safer if a group of people knows.
- Say your prayers. It works to turn luck in your favour. You will be helped by the most unlikely of strangers or the psycho will get distracted by something and leave.
- Shout so that everyone looks, but don't use any foul language. Don't say mean things.
- Make a crying face, act helpless to the crowd - so that other guys come to your defence.
- Keep a straight face, don't look scared or make silly expressions.
- Tell the stalker in a very loud voice to stop following you and go and do his own work. (Pichha mat karo, jao yahan se, apna kaam karo)
Prepared with this advice, I thought I was ready to tackle any psycho that ever stalked me again, but...................
Day 2 - I was walking down the office complex path that leads to my office building when I heard a voice behind me saying, "Namaste Madam". At first I thought someone from my office was greeting me. Turning around, I realised that it was the same 'stalker'. His complexion was wheatish while his features were typical of natives of western Uttar Pradesh. He was wearing an over used T-shirt, grey pants and sneakers.
The 'stalker' continued to closely shadow me. I felt an icy cold chill run down my spine. I'd often read in mystery novels about this 'chill' but never experienced it first hand. It was as cold as fingers get after dipping them in 'Kulfi' on a frosty January morning. He kept mumbling something in a local dialect which I just could not pick up. I was shit scared and shivered even though it was 40 C around me. I looked around for a crowd...people...anyone. Cars kept speeding by, honking loudly.
I prayed for strenght. As, I reached a group of office goers ahead, I suddenly found myself yelling at the 'stalker'. I have never yelled at anyone in such a loud voice before. Everyone turned to stare. I kept yelling, telling everyone how this person was following and harassing me. (Picha mat karo, Bhaiya Babuji dekhiye, yeh humare pichcha kar raha hain, humein tang kar raha hain) Everyone glared at the stalker who turned away and took off.
I have not seen the 'stalker' again, till date. Thank God !
I discussed this issue with my friends and came up these points which every woman should know about.
- Psychos or Stalkers feed on fear. Their main aim is to get you frozen scared, so that you won't be able to do anything when they finally misbehave or attack you.
- Psychos or Stalkers select the most vulnerable person. It does not matter if you are 12 or 80 years or whether you are wearing salwar khameez or jeans. They go for someone with an innocent face who looks like they can be easily bullied. A person who does not protest or create a scene.
- Never Attack First - Don't slap, use pepper spray or kick the Psycho Stalker in the balls before he makes a physical move at you first. This would make you the villain and give him an excuse to touch you. However, if you are in a lonely area and are cornered, then you should attack first and run away. Remember, men are physically stronger than women and can easily overpower you, so don't stick around to watch if he recovers.
- Don't Use Insults or Swear Words - This makes the Psycho Stalker even more determined to get you one day. Also, passersby are less likely to help you if you are rude. Speak loudly, use general language and tell the psycho to go away in front of everybody.
- Keep an expressionless, unbothered look on your face and try to get to a crowded area where you can make a scene. Don't be embarrassed - the embarrassment is all his to bear and he should be ashamed of himself.
So, have you ever dealt with a psycho before ? How was the experience ? Do you have any tips to add ?
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